A third case of African swine fever has been confirmed in China, as fears grow that the virus could spread widely among the world’s largest pig herd.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture said 88 pigs had died from ASF in the eastern city of Lianyungang, the third outbreak this month, Reuters reported.
The virus has been found in a total of 615 pigs in Lianyungang, in Jiangsu since Aug 15. The authorities have implemented measures to halt the spread, including restrictions on movement of pigs, related products and animals that are easily infected both into and outside the affected area, the ministry said.
Emergency measures, including culling and disinfecting animals, have brought the outbreak in the city’s Haizhou district under ‘effective control’. the ministry added.
One of the reasons the outbreaks detected so far are causing such alarm is that they are so far apart geographically. By road, Lianyungang is about 800 miles south of Shenyang, the provincial capital of Liaoning province, where China’s first case of the fever was reported on August 3.
A second outbreak was reported on Thursday about 373 miles east of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in central China. Equally concerning, the pigs infected in Zhengzhou had traveled hundreds of miles from a live market in Heilongjiang province, which, like Liaoning, is in China’s northeast.
Reuters reported that Liaoning has culled more than 8,000 hogs in an attempt to contain the outbreak, while a unit of WH Group, the world’s top pork producer, said it had culled 1,362 pigs at the slaughterhouse where the Zhengzhou cases were discovered.
APHA stressed that the risk to the UK from ASF in China was ‘negligible’. Currently, China is not approved for the import of fresh or frozen pig meat to the EU. However, some animal feed products are imported from China, and the agency is investigating other possible pathways.